Automotive – Gizmocrazed – Future Technology News Artificial Intelligence, Medical Breakthroughs, Virtual Reality Sun, 18 Mar 2018 05:32:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 3 Huge Problems of Driver-less Cars Tue, 04 Apr 2017 22:43:01 +0000 3 Huge Problems of Driver-less Cars

From GM and BMW to Tesla, lots of car companies are making use of the incredible self-driving car technology. The hype has been somewhat mixed with people either embracing the technology eagerly and those who are skeptical of its safety. The promise of self-driving cars is very appealing because of the fact that it’s actually a very safe way to transport people.

The system still has a lot of obstacles to clear before we see modern society adopt these driverless cars completely. Creating these amazing cars takes a lot of technical expertise and patience, which the folks over at VP Exhaust have a lot of respect for.

Creating and Sticking to Maps is Problematic to Self-Driving Cars

The bright minds at google are coming up with a way to save the self-driving car’s power by creating maps that are programmed into the car’s navigational system. By having the car already preprogrammed to follow a certain course it frees up power for the car to have its sensors on. The sensors are scanning constantly to make sure the car is moving in along its path with no danger of hitting anyone.

Driving Is Complex and Requires Robots to Learn Tough Algorithms

There are many situations that are difficult for a computer to handle when it comes to the many variables of human behavior. A car that is programmed correctly would be so sensitive as to detect the hand motions signaled from a cyclist crossing the street. All the situations that are based upon making eye contact and deciding on a course of action are human tendencies that are hard to replace.

Bad Weather Ruins the Magic

Self-driving vehicles have their big selling points, like creating an efficient and safe way to move around without too much navigational responsibility. The drawbacks come with another unpredictable factor. The weather can make or break a self-driving car’s reputation as the ultimate in self-sufficiency. The sensors of the car will not do so well in heavy fog, rain, or snow which is even a challenge for human drivers as well.

Self-Driving Cars are Slowly Emerging onto the Scene

It would be a fair guess to say that not until the year 2020 will roads see any major spike in driverless cars. There are many problems that still need to be addressed. One of these being whether we can actually be safe in them. As cool and interesting as it is to be able to jump a car and have it take you wherever you wish, there’s still the human factor to contend with.

The technology will be available but not all at once. It takes time to make something that people use and feel safe trusting their lives with. Cars are not the only vehicle you may eventually see on the road in the future. There are talks about building self-driving buses and trucks that would travel along the highway. This is a way to save a lot of fuel and potentially usher in a new age of technical wonderment.

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Pairing Problems? How to Make Your Smartphone Play Nice with Your Car Tue, 21 Mar 2017 20:30:43 +0000 Pairing Problems? How to Make Your Smartphone Play Nice with Your Car

In an ideal world, you would step into your car and your smartphone will sync with the vehicle Bluetooth, giving you access to all of your entertainment and other functions within a matter of moments.

The problem that many of us find is that with such a variety of different models in terms of vehicle and smartphone variations, compatibility is not always guaranteed, which is why you might need a few pointers to help everything run smoothly.

Here is a look at how to successfully play music and take calls. There is an overview of common pairing issues, including getting your hands-free calling working, plus some troubleshooting and safety tips to consider.

Understanding pairing

Setting up a Bluetooth connection is called pairing and what you are doing is setting up an exclusive network that consists of one pair of devices.

Although you can pair one device to multiple other devices, it is worth remembering that each connection is unique and secure to one specific pair of devices, so pairing really is what it says and represents a relationship between two devices.

When you take delivery of a new Jeep Wrangler or whatever car you have decided to own, that will be the start of a new relationship between not just you and your vehicle but the devices you will be using in it, which is why you will want to ensure everything works properly.


If you are buying a new or recent model your car will most likely have an infotainment system installed and this will offer you Bluetooth connectivity so that you can pair your smartphone or other devices to the system and open up access to hands-free calling and other services.

All you need now is for your smartphone to have Bluetooth connectivity, which should be a given once you find the icon and turn it on so that it is enabled.

Talking to each other

Your primary aim is to successfully get your two Bluetooth-enabled products talking to each other.

The setup process you follow to make that happen will vary according to the way your infotainment system is designed and what type of phone you have. Some models make it easier and more automated than others and you might need some password details too.

Check your vehicle manufacturer’s instruction book to see whether there is a facility to simply press a button on the unit to start the pairing process. You can also use your phone to search for devices to see if it finds your car system and offers to pair with it.

Give it a try

If you are going to be making hands-free calls while on the go, which is the idea, of course, you should check that everything is working fine before you go anywhere.

Test your hands-free calling setup before you start your journey so that you confirm everything works fine and you can get used to how to make and receive calls using the shortcut buttons you might have on your steering wheel.

Bluetooth technology is great for safety and convenience in your car and pairing devices shouldn’t present too many challenges if you press all the right buttons in the beginning.

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Eyes on the Back of Your Head: A Backup Camera Beginner’s Mini-guide Mon, 20 Mar 2017 20:30:58 +0000 Eyes on the Back of Your Head: A Backup Camera Beginner’s Mini-guide

Cars get safer all the time, and one of the most popular safety features on many new cars these days is the backup camera. But although these are becoming more common, you might not actually know how to use yours properly.

Here’s a mini guide for any drivers who are new to backup cameras so you can use yours correctly and safely.

Know How Your Camera Works

Backup cameras help to reduce back-over crashes where a vehicle reverses and hits someone. They can also help to prevent you from rolling over items like bikes and skateboards, which can cause damage to your car as well as the item in question.

But the first thing to know about them is that they are all different. Each model of car will have a backup camera that works slightly differently to other models, so it’s important to become familiar with your backup camera on your vehicle. For example, the backup camera in your new Dodge Charger may be very different from the one in your last vehicle.

Read the manual as soon as you get your new vehicle, and practice using the backup camera. Use it in your drive and make sure there are no hazards in the way, and also use it to park your car. Get a feel for it and become comfortable with it.

Always Check Behind You

A backup camera is never a substitute for physically checking for obstacles outside your vehicle. It can be a useful extra check, but you should always look around the back of your vehicle before you get into it.

Also, there is often still a blind spot below the bumper of the vehicle even when you are using the camera, so keep this in mind.

Look Around You While Reversing

Look over both of your shoulders before starting the vehicle and check your side mirrors as well. Also, make sure you look at the camera and around you as you start reversing to be sure that there are no hazards in your way.

Clean Your Camera

A dirty camera will prevent you from seeing obstacles clearly, so make sure you clean yours regularly. This is especially important during the winter where snow and dirt can make your camera dirty.

Always Get it Fixed if Your Camera Stops Working

If you notice that your camera is not working properly or the image looks strange, always get it checked out because the camera may be damaged. This is especially true if you are involved in any collision, even a small one.

Use Your Camera as An Extra Security Feature

Backup cameras are very useful, and they can help to reduce accidents as well as reducing the chances that you roll over an item and cause damage to it or your vehicle. As a result, they are a very popular feature in new cars.

But remember that the backup camera is only an added safety feature, and it never makes up for poor driving. So always check around your vehicle before getting into it, and look around you at all times so you are aware of any hazards when you start driving. That’s the way to ensure you stay safe when you are behind the wheel.

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Uber’s self-driving cars welcomed by Arizona Governor Sat, 25 Feb 2017 15:30:34 +0000 Uber’s self-driving cars welcomed by Arizona Governor

Almost two months after Uber loaded its fleet of self-driving SUVs into the trailer of a self-driving truck and stormed off to Arizona in a self-driving huff, the company is preparing to launch its second experiment in autonomous ride-hailing.

What’s different is that this time, Uber has the blessing from Arizona’s top politician, Governor Doug Ducey, a Republican, who is expected to be “Rider Zero” on an autonomous trip along with Anthony Levandowski, VP of Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group.

The Arizona pilot comes after California’s Department of Motor Vehicles revoked the registration of Uber’s 16 self-driving cars because the company refused to apply for the appropriate permits for testing autonomous cars.

Residents of Tempe, Arizona, can now hail a self-driving Volvo XC90 SUV on Uber’s ride-sharing platform.

Uber says it hopes to expand the coverage area to other cities in Arizona in the coming weeks.

The California DMV said Uber needed to get the permit, Uber refused, and California called the company’s bluff and revoked the registration of the 16 cars.

Notwithstanding the controversy, hours after Uber’s fleet of self-driving cars began to pick up passengers in San Francisco for the first time, one of the vehicles was caught running a red light.

Arizona, on the other hand, has taken a “Do what you want” attitude to tech companies and self-driving cars.

Ducey signed an executive order in late August 2015 directing various agencies to “Undertake any necessary steps to support the testing and operation of self-driving vehicles on public roads within Arizona.” He also empowered Arizona’s universities to launch pilot programs for self-driving cars, one of which involved Uber.

This is a big step forward for Uber’s futuristic plans to conduct the majority of its trips in self-driving cars, but it still has real-world hurdles in its path.

Uber’s has had a spate of bad press lately, from #DeleteUber to allegations of rampant sexism, so it’s not a sure thing that the rollout of a new self-driving pilot will do much to repair the company’s reputation.



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Tesla Revolution Underway with Plummeting Battery Cost Fri, 03 Feb 2017 17:57:27 +0000 Tesla Revolution Underway with Plummeting Battery Cost

Tesla Motors Inc. is making a huge bet that millions of small batteries can be strung together to help kick fossil fuels off the grid.

The idea is a powerful one-one that’s been used to help justify the company’s $5 billion factory near Reno, Nev.; but batteries have so far only appeared in a handful of true, grid-scale pilot projects.

Three massive battery storage plants built by Tesla, AES Corp., and Altagas Ltd. are all officially going live in southern California at about the same time.

Any one of these projects would have been the largest battery storage facility ever built.

They amount to 15 percent of the battery storage installed planet-wide last year.

The new battery projects were commissioned in response to a fossil-fuel disaster; the natural gas leak at Aliso Canyon, near the Los Angeles neighborhood of Porter Ranch.

The battery storage industry, a key part of the plan if wind and solar power are to ever dominate the grid, is less than a decade old and still relatively small.

Until recently, batteries were many times more expensive than natural gas “Peaker” plants that fire up to meet surging demand in the evening and morning hours.

Prices for lithium-ion batteries have fallen fast by almost half just since 2014.

Tesla Revolution Underway with Plummeting Battery Cost
Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Electric cars are largely responsible, increasing demand and requiring a new scale of manufacturing for the same battery cells used in grid storage.

California’s goal is considerable, but it’s dwarfed by Tesla’s ambition to single-handedly deliver 15-gigawatt hours of battery storage a year by the 2020s; enough to provide several nuclear power plants worth of electricity to the grid during peak hours of demand.

Battery costs and profitability for utilities are difficult to evaluate.

Battery plants take up a much smaller footprint than gas-powered plants, they don’t pollute, and their instant response can provide valuable services better than any other technology.

The total installed cost of a battery plant would need to fall to about $275 per kilowatt hour.

The battery’s day is coming, while those of natural gas peaker plants are numbered.

That’s the prediction of John Zahurancik, AES’s president of battery storage.

Zahurancik is one of the pioneers of energy storage, having cobbled together profitable edge-case storage projects since 2008 when battery prices were 10 times higher than they are today.

The biggest thing that sets Tesla and AES apart is that Tesla is building the components of its storage units itself at the company’s Gigafactory in Reno, including battery cells with partner Panasonic, modules, and inverters.

For now, gas peaker plants still win out on price for projects that aren’t constrained by space, emissions, or urgency, said Ron Nichols, President of SCE, the California utility responsible for most of the biggest battery storage contracts.



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8 Reasons EVs are the Future of Transportation Thu, 02 Feb 2017 15:30:41 +0000 8 Reasons EVs are the Future of Transportation

The auto industry has been forced to evolve in the past several years with the rise and fall of gas prices and the push for auto companies to manufacture low-emission vehicles.

The most important evolution in transportation technology is the electric vehicle (EV) – a sustainable solution to our current gasoline and diesel fueled vehicles. This new technology has enabled the auto industry to meet worldwide pollution standards.

The above infographic, “8 Reasons EVs are the Future of Transportation,” was created by Auto Loan Solutions to shine a light on the latest data and insights on the ever-growing influence of these vehicles.

The power of EVs to offer sustainability to our environment, economy, and roadways is undeniable, despite the doubt some skeptics place on their power.

Battery prices are continuously dropping, making EVs more economical than traditional vehicles. As well, what was once a barrier in the way of EV development, the number of charge stations are steadily increasing. EVs also have a short payback period and a lifetime of over 20 years. Increasing ultra low emission zones (ULEZ), the development of new technology and the impact of EVs on the reduction of carbon emissions in the industrial sector make these vehicles the clear choice for our future transportation.

This revolution is quickly approaching. Major auto companies have invested heavily in this technology. Tesla has plans to build 1 million EVs by 2020, and Ford plans to have developed 13 new models with a $4.5 billion budget within the same time frame. Unsurprisingly, sales forecasts predict EVs will make up 35% of new car sales by 2040.

As you’ll find out from reviewing this infographic, EVs will soon become a reality for many drivers, auto companies, and transport sector companies, and the impact of EVs on the environment will help create a greener future.

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Self driving car Google, Tesla, Mercedes Thu, 26 Jan 2017 15:30:38 +0000 Self driving car Google, Tesla, Mercedes

Technology is changing the way cars will operate in the coming years. Just like in the movies, a survey reveals that there would be fewer car owners and more driverless cars in the future.

Companies such as Uber, Tesla, and even Amazon have joined the companies willing to give this technology a try. Amazon recently hinted their plans for a self-driving car.

This information was revealed via a patent that Amazon filed back in November of 2015 and was just recently granted, which covers the problems on how to deal with reversible lanes and change of direction.

There is also Tesla, which currently uses self-driving features on their cars, but their owners are to remain responsible for their cars always until full autonomy is been reached.

Per Tesla, the company is constantly working on evolving their vehicles and capabilities with the aim accomplish full autonomy. As for Uber, one of the biggest ride sharing companies currently operating in the United States, the company has launched full self-driving testing in Arizona. Uber’s self-driving cars has prompted other companies to start exploring their options.

Companies, such as Google, have developed a patent that reveals their strategy to fight Uber and possibly master the market. Per Google’s patent application, these self-driving taxis will can know where to meet the person despite of road closures and detours.

The patent application shows Google is trying to implement a memory system where the cars can store map information.

Google’s currently ride sharing service, through Waze Rider app, is very limited and it is only offered to the Bay Area. With the technology and the potential to expand, it is quite easy to see why many companies are willing to explore the possibility of expansion into this market.

The technology still in the beginning stages and there will be more developments and test that will need to be conducted to have a safe, fully operational self –driving technology.

Over 15 companies have showed some kind of interest in the self-driving cars technology, which is a safe assumption that this technology is going to be the next big thing.

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Should we trust self-driving cars? Wed, 25 Jan 2017 15:30:15 +0000 Should we trust self-driving cars?

Why People Should Not Be Afraid of Self-Driving Cars

Until now, humans have had absolute control of machines.

They automatically do some tasks, but there is always a human involved commanding and deciding how the task is performed.

In the 21st century the incorporation of technology into everyday life is not only common but increasing, and the automotive industry is aware of it.

It started with few sensors and parking assistants.

Tesla has a self-driving mode, but it requires human intervention.

Now companies are pursuing full autonomy for self-driving cars with zero human intervention, the question is: Are humans ready?

Full autonomy is a logical step since human back-up is prone to errors.

When a person is distracted, it is really hard to get him into a task, and that is especially dangerous in the situations in which the partial autonomy requires human intervention.

Everyone has got etched in their minds the infamous fatal accident, involving a self-driving Tesla.

This accident caused a major backlash in the trust that people could have for this technology but, was it technology or a human mistake?

Money is Often a Problem

Full autonomy is very appealing to companies like Uber or Lyft, which are already testing self-driving cars and working along with automotive companies willing to take a slice of this industry that promises to represent quite a lot of money in the years to come.

But the money problem is not related to how much the companies are investing in the investigation and development of full autonomy, the problem comes from the hundreds of thousands of chauffeurs who recognize their jobs are threatened.

The problem of this group of workers that earn their daily bread behind the steering wheel should be resolved and help them go through the transition to self-driving cars, training them for alternative jobs.

Also, it should be taken into account that some roads are difficult to navigate and that would be a human task, but overall, the number of drivers will drop dramatically.

Another sector of the economy that could see dark days, if it does not adapt, is the maintenance and repair services for cars since the knowledge needed for self-driving cars will be totally different, tending more to software and electronics.

Why Give a Chance to Self-Driving Cars

Despite all the myths and concerns, moving forward full autonomy is the right path.

With every innovation comes an opportunity: for every job lost, it will appear a new profession; for every car driving itself, there definitely will be grateful people that, for one reason or another, are incapable of driving.

Also, the self-driving car development is aiming more to companies than to consumers; it could be translated into the decrease of traffic jams.

Ecologically, self-driving cars will be an improvement in the care of the health of mother earth, since most of the developments are meant to be electric, eliminating the need for fuel and therefore, eliminating the polluting emissions.

Another thing to consider is, as the self-driving technology is more implemented, it will solve many safety challenges we face nowadays on the road, like reckless drivers, distraction, and drunk people, saving millions of lives for every self-driving unit.

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Volkswagen to compete in Electric Car market in US Wed, 23 Nov 2016 16:45:11 +0000 Volkswagen to compete in Electric Car market in US

Volkswagen AG is going on the offensive in North America, challenging the likes of General Motors and Ford Motor Co. with a wave of new light trucks and battery-powered cars.

VW’s namesake marque will expand its range of SUVs, crossovers, and sedans and start making electric autos in North America in 2021 in a bid to “Evolve from a niche supplier” into a successful mainstream carmaker in the region, the company said.

Even before the diesel scandal, Volkswagen struggled to extend its dominance in Europe and China to the U.S., misreading American tastes for large, affordable cars.

Now, VW plans to increase its global SUV/crossover lineup to 19 by 2020 from two currently and become profitable in North and South America by then.

The North American push is part of a sweeping overhaul to improve profitability at VW, one of the auto industry’s least efficient brands.

Under the new strategy, the German carmaker’s biggest unit plans to more than triple its profit margin to 6 percent and increase sales of electric cars to 1 million vehicles per year by 2025.

Efforts to boost the margin are critical as Volkswagen faces at least 18.2 billion euros of fines and repairs in the wake of the emissions crisis.

To help cover those damages and the cost of developing battery-powered and self-driving technologies, VW reached a landmark agreement with workers last week, to cut as many as 30,000 jobs worldwide and slash 3.7 billion euros of expenses.

The electric-car transition will be funded in part by eliminating more than 2.5 billion euros of costs by scrapping underperforming conventional models, while the annual investment budget will remain stable at about 4.5 billion euros, the company said.

Burdened by its free-spending past, productivity at VW is 30 percent below its peers and the carmaker spent 60 percent more per vehicle than Toyota Motor Corp. over the past three years, Exane BNP Paribas estimates.

Globally, Volkswagen plans to sell as many as 3 million electric vehicles per year across all its divisions.

“The electric car will become the strategic core of the VW brand.”




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Technology Is Transforming The Way We Buy Wheels Fri, 28 Oct 2016 18:02:05 +0000 Technology Is Transforming The Way We Buy Wheels

The auto industry is being transformed by the technology revolution. In just a few decades there has been a lot of transformation. Bluetooth in all cars is a given now. Easy navigation with the aid of GPS is also available. Parking sensors to assist in parking is a must for all. These were all a part of science fiction movies and books a few decades ago, but it is a reality now. Similarly, the auto industry is moving towards total automation and driver-less cars. Google has been in the forefront of creating this technology. Self-driving cars are going to be the reality quite soon.

The advancements are happening in the auto components sector too and technology is aiding them. Even wheels are prepared using the best technology. People tend to forget the importance of the wheel and buy impersonations or wheels that are not compatible with their car.

For example, let’s say that you are going to buy a new Chevy wheel. You would obviously like to pay attention to a few important things when it comes to buying your Chevy wheels. Depending on personal preferences, of course, most people would like to look at options such as:
• Sizes of wheels.
• Manufacturer or brand name.
• The composition or material of the wheels.
• Price considerations.
• The look and finish of the wheels.
• Aesthetic appeal – how will the wheels fit in with the design of
your car.

Here are a few tips that you can keep in mind in order to avoid a few key mistakes when it comes to selecting wheels for your Chevy.

Do your research
This almost seems like a redundant statement but it is important enough to be mentioned here and to be kept in mind of course! Do plenty of research when it comes to selecting wheels for your Chevy. Such research can start online because there is an immense amount of expert resources that are available.

You should also check out the websites of reputable sellers because they might have a blog or enough information to help you make the correct decision. Your research can also include:
• Visiting chat forums of automobile experts.
• Asking your local mechanic.
• Asking people you know for referrals and so on.

You might get conflicting information but the more you gather, the better equipped you will be to make the correct decision.

What is your personality?
This may seem like a very odd question to ask when you are selecting wheels for your car but do remember that there are quite a few choices out there and looking at wheels for your car can certainly encompass your personal style.

For instance, you may like to look at wheels that are gleaming silver or matte black. Yes indeed, they have to fit your car but these two finishes go with almost every Chevy out there. So, what would you like to choose according to your personality?

Use online tools
Apart from the aesthetic appeal, there are a few practical aspects to choosing wheels for your automobile. These practical aspects include:
• The right size of the wheel.
• The correct offset size of the rims.
• Bolt pattern of the rim.
• Certified quality.
• Reputation for reliability and so on.

For instance, it is advisable to choose wheels that have the same bolt pattern as your original wheels. Again, if you were to make the mistake of choosing the wrong offset size, then you may be left with a vehicle that is a bit cumbersome to handle and steer.

The right rims can go a very long way in helping enhance your vehicle’s performance. Broadly speaking, here are a few things to keep in mind:
• The wider the horizontal profile of the rim, the more it can help
with cornering and acceleration.
• Smaller rims can contribute to reducing the weight of the vehicle
which in turn results in better mileage.
• When you are concerned with better performance, then you may
like to go in favor of wider rims.

The additional consideration here as far as performance is concerned is the composition of the rims.

Alloy vs. steel
The two broad categories as far as the composition of the rims is concerned are steel wheels vs. alloy wheels. The latter are made up of an alloy of nickel and aluminum. Both types of wheels offer specific benefits. Quite a lot of vehicles come with alloy wheels today but in case your Chevy has come with steel wheels you may like to weigh the benefits of both kinds of wheels before changing or sticking with the original.

Alloy wheels are lighter and can handle quite a few ‘road problems’ in a more effective manner. However, they are also more expensive and are more prone to bending under too much of impact. Steel wheels are known for their durability and sturdiness but they can add to the weight of the vehicle. Regular maintenance is critical in order to avoid the formation of rust on steel wheels.

Do not buy under pressure
It can be a very costly mistake to buy your wheels under pressure simply because of a smooth-tongued salesman making his pitch. This can happen online and in brick and mortar stores so do not fall for a seemingly juicy deal. Ask all your questions, get all the answers, weigh all the information and shop around for multiple price quotes and options before settling on your final choice. You can certainly use online tools that can help you with wheels selection for your particular car make and model.

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